“My dream for all of us is that we make enough money to work because we have to and not because we want to,” says Nely Galan, media dynamo and founder of The Adelante Movement, a grassroots movement that was created to unite Latinas socially, economically and politically. “We need to own more businesses, raise more money, bring franchise opportunities to our families, pay for our children’s colleges and become a powerful voice in our community,” claims the passionate futurist, acclaimed producer, business woman and first-ever Latina president of a U.S. television network.
Galan believes that we have been taught as a society to think that money is the root of all evil, and she feels it is our duty now, as Latina moms—the key influencers and decision makers of the family unit—to grab the bull by the horn and embrace wealth for the sake of leaving a lasting legacy for our children.
She had her own epiphany about empowerment when a television station where she worked was suddenly sold, and just like that she was out. “Then my former employer said ten words to me that changed the course of my life forever,” relays Galan. “He said: You need to get your own chips—these are mine.”
Fueled with this eye-opening new sense of intention, Galan did exactly as her boss advised and started her own business, achieved tremendous success, invested in real estate and survived two horrific economies. She claims this was possible precisely because she indeed got her own chips—which is exactly what The Adelante Movement aims to help women do.
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The movement came to life with the launching of The Adelante Tour, which stops at multiple cities (dates and cities soon to be announced) and aims to motivate, empower and encourage Latinas to network. Galan teamed up with Coca-Cola, to create new jobs for Latinas and their families—from franchising and entrepreneurship opportunities to government contracts—all of which are accessible by attending The Adelante Tour or joining The Adelante Movement.
For the 2012 Tour, which kicked off in July at the NCLR (National Council de La Raza) conference in Las Vegas, Galan invited acclaimed writer and McArthur Genius grant recipient, Sandra Cisneros, who guided women to explore the process of finding one’s own voice in order to tap into our fundamental dream and sense of purpose. Nell Merlino, founder and president of Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, was also on the tour and spoke about accessing tools and knowledge to create your own business; and U.S. Treasurer, Rosie Rios, also made a surprise appearance.
Galan has a vision for Latina women, a future where we consciously take advantage of our current, well-documented power—purchasing and voting power—and access the real economic opportunities that, with the help of Galan and The Adelante Movement, are now becoming accessible, viable low-hanging fruit. “When I was on Coca-Cola’s advisory board, I learned that the information about Latinas coming from the government, medical establishments and media was typically negative—versus Coca-Cola’s research, which reports that Latinas are today the emerging market as far as voting and spending are concerned,” says Galan. With this knowledge in hand, her expertise raring to go, and her passion for empowerment as her fuel, Galan created the movement—her way of giving back to the community that, in her view, instilled the real values for her success.